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UN Condemns Violence in Eastern DRC City

The United Nations is calling for a halt to violence around Beni, an eastern Democratic Republic of Congo city where more than 200 people have been killed in the past two months.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Congo, Moustapha Soumare, spoke out Tuesday, three days after suspected Ugandan rebels massacred at least 36 people in the area.

In a statement, Soumare condemned the slayings and called for greater protection of civilians. Citing civil society sources, he said more than 88,000 locals have been forced to flee their homes because of the violence.

Soumare said the situation is "aggravating an already precarious humanitarian situation" and that local civilians "live in permanent fear of another massacre."

U.N.-backed Radio Okapi reports that another 13 people were killed and seven wounded in knife attacks in villages outside Beni early Monday.

DRC map, North Kivu province
DRC map, North Kivu province

Beni is in mineral-rich North Kivu, which has long been Congo's most violent and volatile province. Numerous rebel and militia groups are present in the area, including the Ugandan rebel ADF and the Rwandan rebel FDLR.

Last year, the area saw heavy fighting as Congolese army forces defeated rebel group M23.

The U.N. refugee says nearly 900,000 people are displaced throughout the province.